KARACHI: Pakistan Equities on Thursday closed in negative with benchmark KSE100 Index settling below 43,700 levels. The day started at the market on a positive note but eventually trade volumes plunged by nine percent on a day-on-day (DoD) basis to 246 million shares. The value traded dropped to $ 86 million. Oils denting was witnessed at KSE100 Index in early trade as investors tracked overnight losses in global crude. Sentiments later turned sour in cement sector as well when Cherat Cement CHCC PA -five percent announced lower than expected core earnings. Another key announcement was of Engro Fertilisers EFERT PA +1.6 percent that closed with modest gains after company posted inline earnings but surprised investors with a higher cash payout. Financials skidded lower on relatively lower activity with index heavy MCB Bank MCB PA -2.4 percent, Habib Bank HBL PA -0.9 percent and United Bank UBL PA -1 percent all contributing to the decline. On the corporate front, Unity Foods UNITY PA +4.8 percent announced commencing of operations of edible oil refinery that sent the stock sky-rocketing to its upper price limit. An analyst at Elixir Securities, M. Zainul Abedin, said volatility was likely to prevail in the coming session. “We advise investors to take advantage of the current weakness and build position with Financials topping our liking.” Top volume stocks were BOP (-4.52%), FFL (+4.96%), TRG (-3.84), ANL (+5.18%) and SSGC (+0.79). Pressure was seen in the market today due to rumors of net outflow by foreigners where all the heavyweights of the bourse HBL (-0.93%), OGDC (-1.40%), PPL (-2.69%), UBL (-1.04%), MCB (-2.41%), LUCK (-1.56%), HUBC (-0.23%) dragged the market to close in the red. Steel sector came under the hammer where ASTL (-0.89%) and MUGHAL (-0.84%) closed in the red belt as the Pakistan Steel Melters Association (PSMA) has fiercely opposed the grant of duty and tax exemptions to China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited (CSCEC) as it will cost the exchequer around Rs11bn. Moreover, Cement stocks further weighed down the bourse as there was rumour circulating in the market regarding cartel rift over prices where CHCC (-5%) closed in the lower circuit as the company announced its half yearly result with EPS of Rs7.64 and a DPS of Rs1. DGKC (-4.60%), KOHC (-3.60%), FCCL (-2.97%) and MLCF (-2.89%) cumulatively lost 65pts. EFERT (+1.56%) in the fertiliser sector closed positive as the company announced its year end result giving EPS of Rs8.36 and DPS of Rs3.00. Published in Daily Times, February 9th2018.